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Cornell has secretly been serving its students burgers made of 1/3 ‘ground-up mushrooms’

‘We’re increasing the amount of plant and decreasing the amount of [meat]’

A recent news report out of Cornell University revealed that the school has been serving students burgers made with a substantial amount of ground-up mushrooms, a program that a school official admitted was “stealth.”

The Cornell Daily Sun reports that the school has recently been floating “a slew of careful decisions designed to ensure nutritious and healthy options.”

Among those have been initiatives such as “switching to new brands [of processed meats] that emphasized products free of artificial ingredients and prepared with minimal processing.”

But the school has also taken a more subtle approach to changing students’ diets: replacing significant amounts of hamburger meat with ground-up mushrooms, apparently without informing students of the change.

The school has been serving “patties with 30 percent less beef — that meat is partially replaced with ground-up mushrooms,” The Daily Sun reports. The mushroom-blended burgers are served at several locations around campus.

“Instead of just being completely plant-based, we just up the veggies. We’re increasing the amount of plant and decreasing the amount of [meat]. That’s kind of been our stealth way of approaching it,” Michele Lefebvre, the school’s director of nutrition management, told the paper.

The school collaborated with the Blended Burger Project to develop the beef-and-mushroom burgers. That project devotes itself to “blending finely chopped, umami-rich mushrooms with ground meat in burgers and propelling the global food revolution forward.”

It is unclear if most Cornell students are aware of the fact that many of their burgers have been blended with mushrooms. A search of the Cornell website for any mention of the Blended Burger Project returned no hits.

The school’s website does have some scant information about the blended mushroom burgers: A Powerpoint presentation examining the school’s “Big Red Blend” project, and a video of a presentation by Lefebvre from October of last year, in which she briefly mentions the blended burger program.

MORE: Going vegan can help fight racism, instructor says

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